Putting an End to Doomscrolling

How you can break the evil cycle of doomscrolling

Have you ever told someone you were going to bed but ended up on Instagram instead? 

Scrolling up and down, double-tapping, retweeting, reposting, any and all social media posts we stumbled upon. This activity became even more frequent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which to be fair, isn’t anyone’s fault because what is there to do when you’re cooped up at home almost 24/7?

Every night concludes the same way the day began: with a never-ending scan through social media in a frantic hunt for clarity - it’s a never-ending vicious cycle. 

We all wanted to stay up-to-date not only with our friends but what was going on around the world. Be it the increase and decrease of COVID-19 infections, COVID-19 conspiracies, shooting incidents in the United States, wildfires in Australia, and many other global updates. Unfortunately, the insane number of negative news that were published during those times made the positive news seemed almost nonexistent.

With that said, we may have increased our news consumption during those times. Because naturally, we tend to pay more attention to the news during times of crisis and uncertainty, looking for answers. And, while this may not come as a surprise to you, we must state the obvious: a lot of the news is bad. However, being the stubborn human beings that we are, we keep scrolling, reading article after story, unable to turn away from depressing material.

When you can't stop scrolling down Twitter or reading news that you know will make you unhappy, nervous, or angry, there's a phrase for it - Doomscrolling. 

What is Doomscrolling? 

Don’t be the victim to doomscrolling; Image via Inside Hook 

Doomscrolling, also known as doomsurfing is a phenomenon in which you regularly scroll or surf around social media and other news sites in order to stay up to date on the newest news - even (and, it appears, especially) if the news is unpleasant.

Although the term may have started on Twitter in 2018, It's gained traction in our cultural vernacular since then, becoming more popular following the commencement of the COVID-19 catastrophe in March and April of 2020. Kevin Roose, a technology columnist described the doomscrolling habit as "falling into deep, morbid rabbit holes filled with Coronavirus content, agitating yourself to the point of physical discomfort, erasing any hope of a good night's sleep."

Why is it bad for us?

Doomscrolling is harmful to the mind and the body; Image via Popular Mechanics

Doomscrolling is harmful to your health in a variety of ways.

Most obviously, it's a terrible waste of time; skimming through troubling opinions on Twitter, for example, where each page has no bottom and fresh messages always appear at the top, can take hours.

With the increase in screen time, you’re also putting yourself at risk of stress, anxiety, and depression, which if it continues can lead to increased hostility or heightened aggressive behavior.

Whatever you're looking for, you may experience "a sense of powerlessness and a perception that there is nothing meaningful that can be done," said Nicole Spector. On top of that, excessive doomscrolling has repercussions that go beyond psychological effects and it could be: 

  • Headaches
  • Stomach problems
  • Increased muscle tension and fatigue,
  • Lack of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Poor sleep quality

Terrifying! But are there ways to avoid this from happening? Certainly and we’re here to guide you through it. 

How to Avoid Doomscrolling?

1/ No screen morning

Keep your mornings sacred; Image via Verywell Family

Used to check your phone immediately after waking up in the morning? Getting caught up with notifications from the night before or getting lost in bad news that will just suck the positive energy out of you? Well, time for you to skip that and start making your morning sacred. 

There are so many phone applications out there that can help with blocking some applications before a set period of time. If you’re an iPhone user, go ahead and utilize the ‘Downtime’ application. Applications like this will help you in terms of starting your mornings right. 

2/ Set yourself a time limit

Setting a screen time for yourself; Image via The Verge

Yes. Remember how our parents used to limit our screen time when we were just kids? Now you know why they did that. It was for our own good.

That’s exactly what you’re going to do to yourself in order to protect your sanity. It may sound like an easy thing to do, but trust us when we say it can be quite a challenge. So if you’re ready to take on that challenge, go ahead and set daily time limits on your social media to remind you to log off, or plan an activity with a buddy during the times you're most likely to doomscroll.

If this is your first time reading about setting time limits for your phone applications, go ahead and watch this tutorial.

3/ Find a hobby

Explore new hobbies; Image via Lifehack

If you don’t already have one, now is the perfect time to explore your interests if you wish to get rid of your habit of doomscrolling. Simply because most of us fall into this dark hole of doomscrolling for the reason of “just passing time”, which we absolutely understand.  

However, make an attempt to do something more productive if you catch yourself starting to doomscroll. Perhaps call a friend, start a new tv show, read a book, or start gardening. Anything to keep negativity at bay!

4/ Mantras are your best friend

Stay positive with happy thoughts; Image via Boss UK

I deserve all that is good…

I choose to be grateful for all that I have…

I choose to be optimistic…

Positive mantras are now your powerful weapon. 

Because when the news is depressing, it might make you feel hopeless and despondent. Positive mantras, sayings, and slogans can be hung on your desk or around your home. These words help to keep your thoughts focused on the good.

Be Mindful of Your Internet Activities

Essentially, we’d like to just remind our readers that there are so many good things that are happening in this world right now. You just have to look for it and even if there isn’t any, you can be the change. Start leaving sparkles wherever you go because someone else might also need the sense of hope and positivity that you’re searching for. 

If you wish to understand more about doomscrolling, feel free to listen to this podcast produced by BFM.

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